Attorneys Argue Gov. Scott Should Have Final say in Naming Three Supreme Court Justices on Final Day

by | Jul 20, 2017

Attorneys representing Gov. Rick Scott are asking the Florida Supreme Court to reject attempts to prohibit him from appointing three new justices on his final day in office.

The League of Women Voters of Florida and Common Cause filed a petition with the court last month asking the court to intervene in the matter.

The terms of three of the court’s current justices–Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince–are set to end January 8, the same day Rick Scott will end his two terms as governor.

The three justices are required to leave their seats on the bench because they have reached mandatory retirement age.

Scott has said he plans to appoint three new justices the morning of his last day in office.

But, the voting rights groups claim the terms of the three justice won’t expire until the end of the day on January 8, after the governor leaves office earlier that same day. They argue Scott’s successor has the responsibility of appointing the new justices.

Attorneys for Scott argue in their response to the petition that the lawsuit should be thrown out because it involves something that hasn’t occurred yet.

“Petitioners do not challenge any specific executive action that has been taken by the governor, but rather seek the court’s opinion regarding the scope of the governor’s executive authority to act in the future under a hypothetical set of facts,” Scott’s attorneys wrote in their response.

The three outgoing justice comprise a large part of the court’s more liberal majority. Those with similar philosophical views as the three justices are concerned that if Scott is given the authority to make the appointments, it could influence the direction of the court for years to come.


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